While certainly not condoning the ban on boating on Liberty and Prettyboy Reservoirs prompted by the zebra mussel threat, one prominent Maryland angler suggests shore fishing isn't a bad alternative.
Andhe should know.
Gary Peters of Eldersburg has one of the longest-standing recordsin both the Fishing In Maryland and Maryland Sportfishing tournaments for a fish caught from shore. Though he now does much fishing from a boat, Peters still is a reservoir-bank fisherman at times.
On Oct. 4, 1974, Peters, now 41, took an 8 1/4-pound smallmouth from Liberty Reservoir. Not only was that a Maryland record, but it was the topsmallmouth entered that year in the prestigious "Field and Stream Record Book."
The other day, while recalling his catch, Peters said reservoir shore fishing actually has advantages, especially in spring.
"In the spring there are real windy days, and when the wind is from the south, I fish the north shore," said Peters. "The waves coming from the other side get rolling and muddy the waters on the north bank, and that's where the bigger fish usually are."
He suggests the Morgan Run and Nicodemus Bridge areas.
Boat fishermen are more mobile, while bank fishermen tend to stay in one spot longer, explained Peters.
"The bank fishermen perseveres, and while doing so, wheneven he is about ready to leave, that's when he catches his big fish."
Peters got his big smallmouth on a big, live crawfish, so big he wasn't going to use it. He recalls that it was about 5 inches long,and that he decided to put it on the hook just before dark.
Threeweeks after catching that 25-incher, he hooked another smallmouth hebelieves to have been 3 or 4 inches longer about 100 yards from where the first catch was made. Several times Peters almost had the fish landed, but it got away.
Don't ask for the location. One can't expect to have such a honey hole pinpointed.
Five years ago, Peters won the Molson Beer Fishing Contest with an 8-pound smallmouth taken on a Roland Martin spinner bait with a large willow-leaf spinner at Baptiste Lake in Canada.
His other fishing exploits include a 14-pound largemouth bass taken in Florida and, in a six-week stretch on Liberty in 1982, he took five bass over 8 pounds each at Liberty. Petersisn't the only big fish catcher in his family, as 10-year-old son, Wes, recently caught a 9-pound, 2-ounce largemouth from a pond.
Peters said the late Donnie Wilson, one of Maryland's best bass chasers ever, liked shore fishing. Peters likes to start at Snowden's Run at Liberty, and he prefers waters discolored by spring rains and winds.
Most fishermen like fair-weather fishing, but Peters prefers to gowhen the good weather is falling apart and a front is moving in. Forspring shore fishing, he suggested a No. 3 or No. 4 Mepps Spinner. Spinner baits also work, he said, but a Mepps can be fished more slowly while retaining its spinning action.
He uses 14- to 17-pound test line because he often gets snagged, and heavier line enables him totug his hooks free. On spinner baits, he suggests a single spinner blade, and adding a white soft-plastic Tarantula tail on the hook.